30,000 B.C.E. Haircutting tools have been located from this era.
3500 B.C.E. Egyptians use eye makeup and cosmetics and have a rich array of beauty and health regimens.
600 B.C.E. The nose (rhinoplasty) becomes the first part of the body to be surgically altered for aesthetic purposes, by the Indian surgeon Sushruta, and the procedure remains popular today.
296 B.C.E. The Greek colony of Sicily introduces barbering to Rome; frequenting a tonsorial becomes a daily social ritual.
100 C.E. Makeup on the eyes and cheeks, as well as the use of hair dyes, are common in the male grooming regimen in Rome.
1597 The first Western manual of plastic surgery (De curtorum chirurgia) by Italian physician Gaspare Tagliacozzi describes the procedure of using a flap graft to replace a missing nose.
1616 Puritan Thomas Tuke warns of women who embrace falsehood with a “painted face.”
1770 The English parliament annuls marriages in which women have used “scents, paints, cosmetic washes, artificial teeth, false hair, Spanish wool, iron stays, hoops, high-heeled shoes and bolstered hips” to lure men into marriage.
1700s Tattooing has become an established aspect of the commercial economies that have appeared in port cities across Europe.
1700s Wig making remains a thriving artisanal craft in the American colonies until the wig, which has long been a symbol of status, begins to diminish in popularity during the early national period.
1820s Mass-produced, ready-made gentlemen’s clothing is first produced, primarily in New York and along the eastern seaboard.
1830 Godey’s Lady’s Book is published and affords fashionable American women the latest styles from Paris. It includes poetry, current events articles, and sheet music, as well as patterns for needlework designs and clothing.
1851 American women’s suffrage pioneer Amelia Bloomer popularizes Turkish trouser–like pantaloons for women that gain popularity in the early 1900s.
1867 Harper’s Bazaar is the first American magazine devoted specifically to fashion. It debuts as a weekly gazette with a mix of fashion illustrations, colored plates, and reports on what society’s elite is wearing.
1875 Parisian Marcel Grateau perfects the use of a curling iron and popularizes the Marcel wave.
1879 Procter & Gamble introduces Ivory Soap, intended for both personal hygiene and laundry. It is not meant to be a beauty product and is sold on its purity and ability to float.
1879 French hairdresser Alexandre Godefroy invents the hot-blast hair dryer.
1886 The Journeymen Barbers International Union of America ( JBIUA) is established and affiliates with the American Federation of Labor.
1886 Avon begins as the California Perfume Company. The company would change its name to Avon in 1939.
1886 The fashion magazine Cosmopolitan is first published.
1891 The first beauty school, known as the Harper Method Shop, opens in Rochester, New York.
1891 New Yorker Samuel O’Reilly patents the first electronic tattoo machine—a modification of Thomas Edison’s electronic engraving machine.
1892 Vogue, the single best-known fashion magazine title in the world, is first produced as a weekly gazette.
1899 Bernarr Adolphus Macfadden (1868–1955) publishes the magazine Physical Culture to promote healthy diets, regular exercise, and the acquisition of muscle.
1901 Founding of the American Safety Razor Company, which will revolutionize men’s shaving.
1904 Madam C. J. Walker, African American beauty industry leader, begins to produce her own products and sell them in person and by mail order. Her company’s earnings will reach six figures by the 1910s.
1906 The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 allows the federal government to regulate the cosmetics industry and crack down on faulty marketing practices.
1906 German inventor Charles Nessler patents the original electric permanent wave machine.
1907 French chemist Eugene Schuller is credited with developing the first commercial hair color product that is safe for human use. The company he founds becomes known as L’Oréal.
1908 The first appearance of the bob can be traced to Paris and Polishborn Monsieur Antoine (Antek Cierplikowski) who cut the hair of actress Eve Lavallière into a short cut, which Antoine dubbed Jeanne d’Arc.
1908 Beauty entrepreneur Elizabeth Arden opens her first salon on New York’s Fifth Avenue.
1911 The Triangle Shirt Waist Fire in New York City is a catalyst for anti-sweatshop campaigns of the era.
1914 Max Factor develops a foundation for actors that will not crack, cake, or crepe under the harsh studio lights, and soon afterward becomes a highly sought-after makeup artist in the film industry. He is credited with coining the term makeup, based on the phrase “to make up one’s face.”
1914 When war erupts in Europe, Helena Rubinstein and her husband immigrate to New York City, where she opens a Fifth Avenue beauty salon.
1916 Elizabeth Arden (1878–1966), known for founding and operating a chain of high-end beauty spas and salons, marked by her trademark red door, ranks first in the nation in prestige skin care sales.
1918 Lulu Hunt publishes the first popular weight-control book titled Diet and Health with a Key to the Calories.
1918 Annie Minnerva Turnbo Malone, one of the most successful black female entrepreneurs of the early 20th century, opens Poro College—an institution that will include a factory and store for hair and cosmetic products, hairdressing school, dormitory, and auditorium, as well as dining and committee rooms used for meetings, banquets, lectures, and entertainment.
1921 The first Miss America pageant promotes the tourist commerce of Atlantic City, New Jersey.
1924 Anna May Wong, the first Asian American movie star, becomes internationally known and revered as a fashion icon.
1924 Modern Beauty Shop—now known as Modern Salon—a trade journal, is first published and reflects the dramatic growth of popularly priced beauty shops across the country.
1926 French designer Coco Chanel’s little black dress is introduced to the world of fashion.
1926 Proctor & Gamble introduces its first personal beauty soap, Camay, a perfumed bar.
1929 Lastex, a rubber elastic thread manufactured by Dunlop Rubber Company, replaces whale bone in corsets.
1931 The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (ASPRS) is organized.
1932 The Revlon Cosmetics Company is founded.
1933 Estée Lauder, one of the most prominent 20th century entrepreneurs in the beauty industry, begins a home-based cosmetics business during the Great Depression.
1933 Animal testing for cosmetic safety begins in the United States after an eyelash-darkening treatment called Lash Lure blinds a woman.
1938 The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) passes the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide safeguards against the harmful effects of cosmetic use.
1939 The first Mr. America contest, held in Amsterdam, New York, celebrates the muscular male body.
1944 The Draize test by John Draize is the most commonly used test on rabbits to evaluate eye damage in shampoos, deodorants, laundry detergents, and other soaps.
1944 Seventeen magazine, a beauty and lifestyle magazine designed for American teenagers, makes its debut.
1945 Ebony is first published. This is a monthly magazine that chronicles the social, political, economic, and cultural activities of people of African descent in the United States and abroad, selfdescribed as one the “earliest and most passionate defenders of Black beauty.”
1946 Estée Lauder and her husband expand the sales business to beauty salons and hotels, founding the Estée Lauder Company.
1947 French fashion designer Christian Dior (1905–57), who began his career over a decade earlier, launches his first collection.
1951 Clearasil, a popular brand of acne medication, is first mass marketed to teens.
1952 Proctor & Gamble begins to manufacture Gleem toothpaste, followed by the even more popular Crest toothpaste, marketed in 1955.
1952 The merry widow, a foundation garment, is invented for and worn by actress Lana Turner in The Merry Widow. The film brings a renewed attention to the breast, depicting the ideal mid-century hourglass feminine figure with a cinched waistline.
1953 Hugh Hefner first publishes Playboy magazine, a lifestyles magazine for urban men, featuring the nude centerfold of Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe.
1954 The Johnson Products Company is founded in Chicago and focuses initially on the African American male hair care market.
1955 Revlon reveals the power of television advertising when it successfully begins a lipstick war against competition to secure its domination of the market.
1955 Clairol dominates the hair color market with Shirley Polykoff ’s ad campaign that rhetorically asks “Does she or doesn’t she . . . ?”
1957 Gentlemen’s Quarterly (GQ) is launched as a new publication intended to whet the consumer appetites of fashion-conscious men of style and provide a broad range of lifestyle advice to its decidedly prosperous readers.
1957 Ultra Sheen, a chemical relaxer designed for women, helps to revolutionize the African American female hair care industry.
1958 CoverGirl, a cosmetics company, is founded by the Noxzema Chemical Company.
1959 An international organization, Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC), is formed to educate people about the suffering of animals.
1959 Du Pont’s invention of Lycra increases comfort of the girdle.
1962 Newsweek reports that the popularity of the bouffant among teenagers is troubling to parents who think their daughters are wasting too much time rolling and combing their hair.
1963 Weight Watchers, one of the best-known dieting programs, is launched.
1963 Mary Kay Cosmetics, a direct sales company known for its conservative corporate culture and the pink Cadillac, is launched, specializing in beauty products, especially skin care and makeup.
1963 British Hairdresser Vidal Sassoon rises to celebrity fame with his geometric bob cut.
1965 Mary Quant introduces the miniskirt at her London clothes shop, Bazaar.
1968 Feminists protest the Miss America Beauty Pageant by filling a trash can with bras, makeup, curlers, and other popular beauty products of the era.
1974 Fashion designer Calvin Klein prints his logo on t-shirts for the use and amusement of staffers at his company. The logo is soon in hot demand and ushers in the era of designer labels.
1976 Anita Roddick founds an earth-, animal-, and community friendly cosmetic and skin care business, The Body Shop, in Great Britain.
1976 Farah Fawcett first appears in Charlie’s Angels, a popular television detective series. Her feather-blown hairstyle and her iconic swimsuit poster make her an international fashion sensation.
1978 Environmentalist Horst Rechelbacher, who wanted to create personal care products using ingredients found in nature, establishes Aveda.
1981 Fifteen-year-old model/actress Brooke Shields appears in a provocative Calvin Klein jeans commercial that defines the designer’s edgy approach to advertising.
1983 The Jenny Craig program, a popular system that focuses on weight loss, weight management, and nutrition, is marketed.
1983 Jockey International revolutionizes men’s underwear sales by relying on revealing photographs of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer.
1984 In the spirit of laissez faire, the Reagan administration deregulates advertising on children’s television.
1987 Men’s Health magazine is launched, providing male readers with how-to advice for achieving the perfectly sculpted body.
1988 Rogaine, a product designed to encourage hair growth, especially for men, is mass marketed.
1990 The FDA bans 27 unsafe or ineffective ingredients commonly found in dandruff shampoos.
1990s Korean and Vietnamese artisans and entrepreneurs make popularly priced pedicures and manicures the latest rage. By the end of the decade, the number of nail techs has tripled and nail salons are deemed one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States.
1991 The International SPA Association (ISPA) is the first professional organization to represent the industry and an indication of the newest trends in the beauty business.
1991 Naomi Wolf publishes The Beauty Myth, in which she argues that the notion that beauty equals liberation is false and constructed by the beauty industry as a marketing tool.
1994 British cultural critic Mark Simpson coins the term metrosexual in an article for the Independent.
1994 The J. Sisters Salon in New York City, a salon owned by seven Brazilian sisters, first offers the Brazilian wax in the United States.
1995 Maxim, a monthly men’s magazine, is launched. It features articles about men’s health, fashion, sports, and consumer goods, along with other male activities and men’s culture.
1996 A scandal involving talk show host Kathy Lee Gifford and her brand of sportswear exclusively sold by Walmart reflects renewed media interest in sweatshop labor conditions at home and abroad.
1996 The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC), an agglomeration of citizen groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, develops the Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals in an effort to create an international non–animal testing standard.
2002 Extreme Makeover, a reality TV makeover program, debuts on ABC and features individuals who consider themselves ugly submitting videotapes that detail their facial and bodily flaws in hopes of being flown to Hollywood for an extensive makeover. A wave of similarly themed reality shows soon follows.
2002 The U.S. FDA approves the use of Botox, a derivative of the botulinum bacterium, an increasingly popular cosmetic treatment that reduces wrinkles by paralyzing the underlying facial muscles responsible for wrinkles around the forehead and eyes.
2002 Abercrombie & Fitch face ridicule for marketing thong underwear to tweens.
2004 The U.S. Department of Agriculture begins regulating organic personal care products; the first organic standard specifically targeting the beauty and personal care industry emerges in 2008.
2006 Uruguayan model Luisel Ramos dies of a heart attack brought on by anorexia nervosa during a fashion show; just a few months later, anorexia also claims the life of Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston.
2006 The National Latino Cosmetology Association, a nonprofit organization founded by CEO Julie Zepeda, is established.
2008 The FDA Globalization Act is established to provide the FDA with the authority to regulate food, cosmetics, drugs, and medical devices in a global marketplace.
2009 The European Union bans all animal testing for cosmetics and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics.
2009 First Lady and fashion icon, Michelle Obama, is featured on the cover of Vogue.